Wednesday, 9 December 2020
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the Government has failed to provide certainty to millions of Australians without work about the future rate of the JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance,
(ii) treating income support payments like a political football by making ad hoc and last minute announcements to changes in payment rates is unfair, impacting people's mental health and ability to plan for their futures, and
(iii) with the Government's reduction to the Coronavirus Supplement to $150 a fortnight between January and March, those on the Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance, including the children who are living with parents who receive the Coronavirus Supplement will be living below the poverty line during the holiday period; and
(b) calls on the Government to permanently increase the rate of Jobseeker and Youth Allowance as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook to ensure that people on these payments are not living in poverty.
The government is extending payment of the coronavirus supplement for a further three months from 1 January 2021, at a cost of $3.2 billion, to provide additional temporary support to Australians impacted by the pandemic. The extension of the coronavirus supplement and a range of enhanced eligibility criteria within the social services system complement the $507 billion worth of direct economic and balance sheet support already committed by the government. The government's priority is to get Australians back to work, including through the JobKeeper program and the JobMaker program set out in the budget.
Our policy in One Nation is to support an increase for pensions and an increase for JobSeeker as at pre February, yet we will not support this motion. JobSeeker makes the situation difficult because there are all kinds of allowances—family tax benefit A and B, rent assistance and energy allowance. This motion from the Greens puts no figure. It's undefined. We need to reform welfare and make it simple. I also point out that the Greens policies are rapidly increasing the cost of living in this country, and that is highly regressive on the poor, so we will not be supporting this policy.